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The Istanbul Convention: All Women Means All Women

8 June 2022 marks the tenth anniversary of the UK signing the Istanbul Convention. This major human rights treaty establishes comprehensive legal standards to ensure women’s right to be free from violence.

This treaty is desperately needed. If the last year has shown us anything, it’s that women and girls are not safe. Not in their schools, not in their workplace and not even in their own homes. Violence against women and girls is devastatingly common across the UK; in the last ten years, over 1,220 women were killed by men. The impact of the pandemic only made this worse. Reports show a drastic increase in cases of domestic abuse and other forms of VAWG, and support services for victims and survivors are at absolute breaking point.

Finally, after ten long years, on 17 May 2022, the Government announced that they plan to ratify the Istanbul Convention. this is a big step towards improved support for survivors, access to justice, effective prosecution of perpetrators and gender equality. When the UK has ratified the Istanbul Convention, we will be able to hold the Government to account on tackling violence against women according to its standards.

However. . . .

The news is bittersweet. We are deeply disappointed to see that the Government has decided to ratify with reservations, effectively ‘opting out’ of key support and protections, particularly for migrant women. This means migrant women will be denied life-saving support and protection, and if they are being subjected to domestic, sexual abuse or economic abuse, they will have no recourse to public funds, no access to local services, nowhere to go to find safety.

It’s not OK. It’s making the most marginalised women in our country more vulnerable than ever, and that doesn’t sit right with us.

It shouldn’t sit right with you. We follow a God who repeatedly shows his care and compassion for the ‘the foreigner residing amongst us’: In Deuteronomy 27:19, He declares; “Cursed is anyone who withholds justice from the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow.”

As God’s people, we need to speak up and do something to ensure that there is justice and protection for all women, not only those privileged to have the right passport. It’s why we’re working with ICChange and a whole host of like-minded organisations to call on the government to ratify the convention without reservations.

How you can help in 2 minutes. . .

You can SPEAK UP by tweeting your MP to ask them to attend a Parliamentary Photocall on 8th June to call on the government to ratify the treatment without reservations. Here are some example tweets you can use:

​​@[YOUR MP’S TWITTER HANDLE] it’s 10 years since the UK signed the #IstanbulConvention on #ViolenceAgainstWomen. As my MP pls can you attend @ICChangeUK Parliamentary Photocall to call on the Gov to ratify w/out reservations? #AllWomenMeansAllWomen

@[YOUR MP’S TWITTER HANDLE], as your constituent, can I count on you to call on the Gov to ratify the #IstanbulConvention on #ViolenceAgainstWomen w/out reservations by attending @ICChangeUK Parliamentary Photocall on 8 June? #AllWomenMeansAllWomen

How you can help in 10 mins. . .

Email or write a letter to your MP inviting them to attend the Parliamentary Photocall.

Find your MP and their email or postal address via the Parliament website by typing in your postcode.

Download our MP email/letter template [Docx, 124kb] to help you get started, but do add your own twist to personalise it. The more you can talk from the heart and personalise your message, the more impact your words will have.

To stand out more, write a handwritten letter using the text or your own (if you are able to post it).

Send that email or letter to show your support for women and girls across the UK!